Category: mountain bikes

mountain bikes

lacking motivation

I wanted to go to do two rides this weekend so what when I got up this morning did I have a total lack of motivation to do anything? It had been raining but had stopped and the sky was clearing (a s per forecast). In the end went and did some shopping for the bits we could not get last night, by the time we got back it was midday and the sun was shining and the wind was blowing. It was now to late to make it to the local club Saturday afternoon ride so I had lunch instead. Checking the weather for tomorrow showed there was very little chance of a ride tomorrow due to the weather so if I wanted to ride this weekend it was now or never.

I decided on a trip to the beach, it was a ride I was going to do with my son the other week (can’t remember why we did not do it) so I thought it would be a good idea to remind myself of the route, that was assuming I could get past the head wind I was riding into. Once I found the shelter of trees it was not to bad. On the first down hill bit I realised that I had no real front brake, I could the lever back to the handle bar with only marginal affect of speed!! Thankfully there were only a couple of small hills to go down.

I was soon at the beach, I took a picture for the wife just to prove that I was there, it was nice and sunny, a bit breezy although it was now on back pushing me along the promenade. Plenty of people, kids on scooters and dogs on leads (30ft leads!!) to dodge. Saw an old guy in one of those electric buggies, he was sat in the middle of the path blocking a council van from getting past, he then started to move to his left and the van started to move past him when suddenly the guy just turn right and nearly ran into the side of the van. I some time wonder about the ability of some old people to be able to handle those electric buggies.

The beach in all its black and white glory, kite surfers in the distance

A quick game of dodgems across the square in Bournemouth town centre and then up to Meyrick Park for the return leg home. This was the only time I lost the route I came out of Meyrick to early but hey ho. The only down side of this route is that there quite a bit of road riding involved but as a ride it is a simple quick ride.

Work has been manic this week and show no signs of changing next week but at least for the most part it all went according to plan (not that I have a plan…). Have a few laptops and PC to sort out this coming week so hopefully I will be left alone long enough to get on and sort them out.

Had a lovely phone call from the insurance company (national company, big name, yellow is there colour) that insure the companies vehicles, claiming that they had phoned me and arranged an engineer to come and look at my van (afters it little bump) and that the engineer came out and could not find anything wrong with the vehicle. Well that was wrong on three counts, first they had never phoned or spoken to me, secondly I never had any visit from an engineer, and thirdly you would have to be blind to miss the damage. I am now waiting for the engineer to phone me to arrange a meeting as the girl on the phone could not understand the concept that my location can change on a daily basis so it is very difficult to say where I will be in two week times on any given day.

Talking of Bournemouth town centre earlier, I came across this video in the week of urban mountain biking which just so happens to be in Bournemouth

Edit: October 8th 2016, it seems as though the video that I had posted here sponsored by TrollTech has been made the video private and you now need to login to see, there loss not mine as I have now removed all relating content.

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I escaped……

I was able to throw my leg over my bike this morning for the first time in three weeks and while still riding on the shirt tails of a cold it was hard work. I decided that I would go over the local heath as I know I would not be up doing my normal Sunday Throop loop and there were some new sections on the heath I wanted to check out. One a short trail I found on a video, one was one that I could not remember where it came out and the other was a hill that I have targeted to be able to ride up in one go. This morning (only the third time I have been up it) it took two recovery stops to get up the hill, in the coming months I will be working on getting up there in one go and once I have conquered that hill I can move on to its big brother (twice as long) which I have rode up in one on a couple of occasions but I was no good for anything when I got to the top so I am looking at being able to do it in one and make it look easy.

Saw a mountain biker who shall we say was doing a different kind of riding in a BMW convertible, not that I was worried but please on a residential road!!

Also had a numpty in a four wheel drive who thought it would be good to see if he could run me and some pedestrians over as we crossed pelican crossing. Yes he had the green light but he was still on the round about 60mtr prior to the pelican crossing so we had plenty of time to cross with out obstructing him, even the pedestrians got a cross with out a problem but it did not stop him from screaming the engine and glaring at us as we crossed in front of him. I offered him a single digit salute to let him know how I felt.

Just spent a pointless 2 hours trying to get something to run on the server at work this afternoon (need everybody of the system to run), it failed, not sure why as it ran perfectly when I did this in November. The joy of working from home over a weekend, looks like I will be trying again tomorrow evening.

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nothing goes to plan

Todays plans was simple, get up, have breakfast, put new chain ring on bike, go for a ride. Unfortunately real life never happens like that. Everything went ok up to the point of putting the chain ring on the bike, it would not fit. The plastic moulding on the SLX chain ring that aids the lifting of the chain was fouling the chain ring webbing on the outside Truvit chain ring. There was no other option, I would have to buy a new Shimano SLX or XT 44 tooth chain ring. Several phone calls later I have only been able to locate Shimano Derore (lower spec than a SLX or XT) or Race Face chain ring in the local stores. I end up buying the Race Face chain ring and leaving the shop several £ound lighter.

Back home I am left to my own devices as the family go off to do some shopping. With everything assembled and a quick run through the gears and everything seemed to be OK. A quick spin down the road and back revealed otherwise. The chain would not lift off the inner ring and on to the middle ring, it would either end up sucking it self between the chain stay and chain ring or just sit half way rattling across the teeth of the chain rings. No amount of adjusting the front dérailleur made any different, so I loaded the bike up and headed over to Cyclefix to see if they can resolve the issue so I can at least go for a ride.

Diagnoses came down to two possible faults, the small inner chain ring was worn and holding the chain or the middle chain ring was incompatible in some way. The only way to resolve this was to fit a new one of each (one at a time) to see if this resolved the problem. I could leave my bike and it would be ready late afternoon or I could do it myself in the shop using the spare bike stand, I took the later option. I soon had the crank out and in bits fitted the new small chain ring and then re assembled the crank. A quick test on the bike stand showed it was changing ok so I took the bike for a ride around the doctor surgery car park next store. The changing from small to middle chain rings was now working. So yet another chain ring was purchased, all in all an expensive morning and the bike is now sporting three new chain rings and a new chain.

Here is a picture of the old and new chain rings (sorry not a very good picture)

chain ring
The old chain ring is the top one and if you look carefully you can see the wear compared to the new one behind

Here another reason I had to change the chain ring

Bent tooth
Bent tooth

After all that I never had time to go for a ride this afternoon so the bike is now ready for tomorrow mornings ride

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get up and go got up and went…..

Last week I used the rain and the first ride back after my shoulder injury as an excuse just to ride on the Saturday, this weekend I just could not be arsed to ride Saturday, just did a little bit of tinkering on the bike and then put it away. So this morning I decided that I really should get up and ride so I dragged my sorry arse out of bed, had breakfast and left the house at 8:40 for my normal Sunday Throop loop.

While it was my normal Sunday route I had decided to check out a couple of new sections, the first was in Ramsdown forest. I had seen a path leading a way at the top of a short climb so I though I would try and find the bottom end of the path and see if it was a better\more interesting climb than the short climb I usually take. Unfortunately I could not find the start of the path so having cycled up the short climb I could not be bothered to go back the newly found path, so I left that for another day (maybe when I do the ride in reverse which I do from time time to relieve the boredom of doing the route in the same direction).

The next new bit was at the top end of Hurn Forest (part of the route when I go out to Moors Valley). When I leave Hurn Forest I turn left down an unmade road, looking at the map there seemed to be an option to turn right and head of into some more woodland. So I headed out that way this morning, turned right instead of the normal left and about 100mtrs from where I turned right I was met by a large sign saying “Private- Keep Out”. So I returned back down the unmade road deciding what to do and I opted to carry one like I was heading out toward Moors Valley but look for any access to the area I had seen on the map which was on my right. Once I got to the main road I turned right as normal, after about 200mtrs I found a gate that led onto Ashley Heath Country Park (not to be confused with Avon Heath Country park which is about 1 miles to the west). Must admit I never knew the place existed. Had a quick ride around having a little explore but I became weary of the weather as dark imposing clouds were gathering on the horizon. There is certainly more to explore here so I will be paying a return visit.

While I was working on the bike yesterday, I noticed that my bottle of chain lubricant was nearly empty again (second bottle of dry lubricant I have bought this year) and it got me thinking. I use either Finish Line wet or dry lubricant dependant on the season and for the most part I am happy with either product bar one thing, the cost.

Do you realise that buying it at £6.99 per 4fl oz bottle from CRC, it works out at £279.60 per gallon (see maths below)

160 fluids ounces to 1 imperial gallon
160 \ 4 = 40 (4oz bottles to the gallon)
40 x £6.99 = £279.60

That is a disgrace (I don’t purely blame CRC as many other retailers are selling at the same or more for the 4fl oz bottles). I know Finish Line do a 1 gallon container of the oil but I have not found a price for it although one guy did say that he picked up a gallon for £183.60 on special offer!!

So I posted on the MBR forum asking the questions what chain lubricants do other mountain bikers use, several of the replies listed chainsaw oil, so I will be looking at getting some of this and see how thing progress. At the end of the day, it can’t be any more expensive than buying the Finishline products. Be interested to hear what other use and there relevant costs.

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xendistar OBE

While the Queen was handing out the Order of the British Empire yesterday to the good and deserving of the UK and the Commonwealth I don’t fulfil either category so I had to get my own OBE. I am now Xendistar OBE (Over the Bars Experience), more on my award later.

Friday’s visit to the hospital for my shoulder went OK, the doctor was happy with the situation with my shoulder, I have about 85% movement in my shoulder with the only problem being in the extreme of shoulders limits. I must admit that I have been surprised by how much my shoulder has recovered since my off 10 days ago. The ultimate question to the doctor was “when can I get back on my bike”, the answer was as soon as I like providing my shoulder felt comfortable on the bike.

With the weather forecast for the weekend I decided to try and ride on Saturday. I opted to ride the Throop Loop simply as it was a relative smooth ride and there was plenty of option to cut the ride short and head for home if my shoulder decided it had had enough. There was also the threat of rain all day on Sunday.

So after a little tweaking of the front gear change I left in glorious sunshine with the my shoulder showing no ill effects of being back on the bike. A few weeks ago I found a new access to Hurn Forest right opposite the exit to Sopley Common. You simply leave the gate from Sopley Common, cross the road and pop through a hole in the hedge. Popping through the hedge involves hopping up the 12″ high verge. I have done this a couple of time, normal practice, push down on the handlebars then lean back and push down on the pedal and the front wheel will pops up, then roll through the hole in the hedge. Well not sure what exactly went wrong but if ask the driver of oncoming car who had a birds eye view of the incident he should be able to tell you. I think I just mistimed everything and never got the front wheel up which meant when it hit the verge I just sailed straight over the handlebars. I fortunately fell to my left and managed to grab my bike so it did not fall back into the road. I never got to see the driver face as he went past, but if he was not laughing then he must have been having a sense of humour failure. I quickly scrambled through the hole in the hedge and recovered my composure.

Thankfully the rest of the ride was uneventful, I managed to do the completes Throop Loop, the last few miles of the ride done in the pouring rain. I had no more pain in my shoulder than I started with so I am happy with that.

Sunday morning dawned with pouring rain so after a lay-in I am currently seated on the sofa typing this and watching the Le Mans 24hr

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